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When most people think of branding, they think about what a company projects into the world. They picture the promotional material, websites, ads, and all the other outward-facing content that helps people get to know an organization from the outside.
But what about the people inside that organization?
The perceptions formed by your team members can be just as consequential as the ones formed by clients and target markets. After all, these are the people who are actually carrying out the work to pursue the goals you’ve set for your business and, ideally, living out the values you say your brand stands for.
And yet developing an internal brand is often at the bottom of the priority list for retail and institutional firms alike. So here are three reasons to move it up to the top.
#1. It can make your team more effective.
Building a strong internal brand means setting clear expectations and establishing a common drive. Over time, these kinds of initiatives tend to lead to less employee turnover, a more engaged workforce and a smoother recruitment process. When your team is united in pursuit of a shared goal, you’re simply more likely to reach that goal.
For FORM Wealth, it was just as much about the material objectives of the business as it was about fulfilling a personal mission. The founders of the independent firm set out with a shared set of values and a deep sense of meaning attached to their work. As their team grew, they knew that maintaining the passion their clients had come to rely on would take a more formal, concrete approach.
So we worked with the leadership at FORM Wealth to clarify, simplify and document the vision and mission of the firm. This also involved developing practical tools that would help them communicate these values to current and future members of staff. Our intention was to help ingrain their founding mission into the fabric of the firm, so that it would become a lasting feature of the culture there, even after the founders eventually move on.
#2. It can have far-reaching effects.
While we talk about internal and external branding, there isn’t exactly a clear line between the two. As you build up both sides of your brand, you’ll find considerable overlap in the development process as well as the end results.
For example, clients tend to have more positive experiences when employee culture is thriving under a well-defined internal brand. They can recognize when a team is unified, and they can build trust more quickly when your external brand aligns with the way things are actually done.
For FORM Wealth specifically, it was important to take the wisdom and practices of the senior advisors and put it all on paper. This would help the team systematize the “secret sauce” of the firm’s success—something that will save time while maintaining the quality and consistency of work in a growing team with a long future.
Of course there are other advantages that come along with documenting your firm’s mission and demystifying each individual’s role in it. Clarifying expectations can facilitate important employee conversations and avoid issues rooted in miscommunication. It can also improve transparency and trust in your leadership, and make your day-to-day life easier.
With a strong internal brand that reflects and reinforces your outward identity, you can generate far-reaching results that can further your goals in unexpected ways.
#3. It can improve your bottom line.
It’s simple: companies with strong cultures tend to see greater success. That is, more stability, higher productivity and faster growth.
That’s because better internal branding makes your expertise scalable. It helps focus the energy of a group of professionals toward well-defined goals, and it propels your practice forward. All of this has a financial impact, even if it isn’t an immediate ROI.
Successful teams invest in their internal brand for the same reason they invest in the one everyone else sees: to effect change and improve the bottom line.